Holden begins his story at Pencey Preparatory, an exclusive private school (fictional, though based on Salinger's own experience at Valley Forge Military Academy) in Agerstown, Pennsylvania, on the Saturday afternoon of the traditional football game with rival school Saxon Hall. Holden ends up missing the game. As manager of the fencing team, he loses their equipment on a New York City subway train that morning, resulting in the cancellation of a match. He goes to the home of his history teacher named Mr. Spencer. Holden has been expelled and isn't to return after Christmas break, which begins the following Wednesday. Spencer is a well-meaning but long-winded middle-aged man. To Holden's annoyance, Spencer reads aloud Holden's history paper, in which Holden wrote a note to Spencer so his teacher wouldn't feel bad about failing him in the subject.
A 16-year old American boy relates in his own words the experiences he goes through at school and after, and reveals with unusual candour the workings of his own mind. What does a boy in his teens think and feel about his teachers, parents, friends and acquaintances?
In an effort to escape the hypocrisies of life at his boarding school, sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield seeks refuge in New York City.
Few novels have had more influence on individuals and literary culture than J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Published in 1951 and intended by Salinger for adults (early drafts were published in the New Yorker and Colliers), the novel quickly became championed by youth who identified with the awkwardness and alienation of the novel’s protagonist, Holden Caulfield. Since then the book and its reclusive author have been fixtures of both popular and literary culture. Catcher is perhaps the only modern novel that is revered equally by the countless Americans whom Holden Caulfield helped through high school and puberty and literary critics (such as the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik who insisted as recently as 2010 that Catcher is a "perfect" twentieth-century novel). One premise of The Catcher in the Rye and Philosophy is that the ease and sincerity with which readers identify with Holden Caulfield rests on Salinger’s attention to the nuances and qualities of experience in the modern world. Coupled with Salinger’s deft subjective, first-person style, Holden comes to seem more real than any fictional character should. This and other paradoxes raised by the novel are treated by authors who find answers in philosophy, particularly in twentieth-century phenomenology and existentialism--areas of philosophy that share Salinger’s attention to lived, as opposed to theorized, experience. Holden’s preoccupation with “phonies,” along with his constant striving to interpret and judge the motives and beliefs of those around him, also taps into contemporary interest in philosophical theories of justice and Harry Frankfurt’s recently celebrated analysis of "bullshit." Per Salinger’s request, Catcher has never been made into a movie. One measure of the devotion and fanatical interest Catcher continues to inspire, however, is speculation in blogs and magazines about whether movie rights may become available in the wake of Salinger’s death in 2010. These articles remain purely hypothetical, but the questions they inspire--Who would direct? And, especially, Who would star as Holden Caulfield?--are as vivid and real as Holden himself.
J. D. Salinger's 1951 novel, The Catcher in the Rye, is the definitive coming-of-age novel and Holden Caulfield remains one of the most famous characters in modern literature. This jargon-free guide to the text sets The Catcher in the Rye in its historical, intellectual and cultural contexts, offering analyses of its themes, style and structure, and presenting an up-to-date account of its critical reception.
An introduction to Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye" discusses the author's life, his perceptions of society in the 1950s, and the novel's plot, characters, and themes.
Presents a collection of essays analyzing Salinger's The catcher in the rye, including a chronology of his works and life.
Five essays focus on various aspects of the novel from its ideology within the context of the Cold War and portrait of a particular American subculture to its account of patterns of adolescent crisis and rich and complex narrative structure.
Anyone who has read J.D. Salinger's New Yorker stories ? particularly A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, The Laughing Man, and For Esme ? With Love and Squalor, will not be surprised by the fact that his first novel is fully of children. The hero-narrator of THE CATCHER IN THE RYE is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.
The classic 1951 novel by J.D. Salinger is analyzed.
Peter G. Beidler's Reader's Companion is an indispensable guide for teachers, students, and general readers who want fully to appreciate Salinger's perennial bestseller.
J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye (1951) is a twentieth-century classic. Despite being one of the most frequently banned books in America, generations of readers have identified with the narrator, Holden Caulfield, an angry young man who articulates the confusion, cynicism and vulnerability of adolescence with humour and sincerity. This guide to Salinger’s provocative novel offers: an accessible introduction to the text and contexts of The Catcher in the Rye a critical history, surveying the many interpretations of the text from publication to the present a selection of new critical essays on the The Catcher in the Rye, by Sally Robinson, Renee R. Curry, Denis Jonnes, Livia Hekanaho and Clive Baldwin, providing a range of perspectives on the novel and extending the coverage of key critical approaches identified in the survey section cross-references between sections of the guide, in order to suggest links between texts, contexts and criticism suggestions for further reading. Part of the Routledge Guides to Literature series, this volume is essential reading for all those beginning detailed study of The Catcher in the Rye and seeking not only a guide to the novel, but a way through the wealth of contextual and critical material that surrounds Salinger’s text.
Examines the background and themes of "Catcher in the Rye," discusses the novel's censorship, and examines the character of Holden Caulfield
1. Introduction This paper deals with the character development of Holden Caulfield in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. As the novel is about a teenager experiencing freedom and liberty for the first time, it is a story of initiation. The anti-hero of this novel describes his three-day-long trip to New York, as well as his escape from his school and his memories about his childhood. Because of his grades, Holden is forced to leave his school. He decides to leave earlier as supposed, to flee from the rules of the school’s conventions and therefore from the phoniness of his environment, which seem to be unbearable to him. After several harsh confrontations with the city’s inhabitants, and above all his inability to communicate with them, he later has a nervous breakdown. As a result of his brutal experiences, the initiate refuses to accept adulthood, which in his eyes means to be integrated in a society of insincerity and sex. This is why he sticks uncompromisingly to his idealistic values. Just the love of his little sister Phoebe makes him return back home, adopt a mature world view and forget his loneliness. At first view the novel seems to be simply structured and that even the order of the chapters could be changed. This paper tries to change the reader’s first view. It shall mention and analyze the most important metaphors which structure the book and describe Holden’s actual situation. To help the reader understand Holden’s actions and feelings, his dualistic world view, as well as his characteristics and the reasons for his escape will be described. Because his vision of the catcher in the rye and his sister Phoebe play an important role in the story these points play also an important role in the analysis. In the last chapter Holden’s final development will be studied with the aim to find out whether his initiation was successful or not.